Keating Ram Express Closes For Plumbing Issue

The+kiosk+closed+becuase+its+sink+was+not+up+the+Department+of+Health%27s+code.+%28Sarah+Huffman+for+The+Fordham+Ram%29

The kiosk closed becuase its sink was not up the Department of Health's code. (Sarah Huffman for The Fordham Ram)

Marisa Valentino, Contributing Writer

The kiosk in the basement of Keating Hall, Keating Ram Express, currently bears a bright yellow ‘Closed’ notice from the the City of New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The kiosk was closed by order of the commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene at the end of the fall 2019 semester.

Gina Vergel, senior director of Communications at Fordham University said it was closed due to a plumbing-related infrastructure issue that Fordham is working to address.

There are signs posted on the kiosk stating that it was not closed for sanitary reasons, but for an immediate plumbing need.

The sink underneath the cash register at Keating Ram Express is not up to the Department of Health’s new food code, according to Deming Yuan, university dining contract liaison.

Domenic Setarro, FCRH’20, chair of the dining committee, said that even if the employee does not have hands-on interaction with the food, the law states that each dining location in New York must be equipped with a hand-washing station.

Yuan said he is unsure when exactly the code was changed, but it was brought to Fordham’s attention by the Department of Health in the fall of this year. Since then, Fordham has made several declined appeals to the Board of Health requesting it stay open as it met previous codes and had no option but to renovate the kiosk, said Yuan.

Setarro said that Aramark, the food provider at Fordham University, had set aside a budget for the repairs that must be made to bring Ram Express’ plumbing standards up to code.

“Aramark claimed that the kiosk was ideally going to be up and running at the start of this semester, but that is clearly not the case,” said Setarro.

Although the construction did not begin on time, it is scheduled to be completed by Thursday, Feb. 6, said Yuan.

The renovation will “more than likely” cause disruption to the nearby lounge as work must be done in the ceiling, said Yuan. Once completed, the Department of Health will need to reevaluate the kiosk.

Yuan said he predicts it will be approved, as the corrected plumbing plans were already approved by the city of New York’s building department.

The United Student Government and the Dining Committee “were informed of the closing and notices were posted at the kiosk; however, a notice was not sent out to the entire student body,” said Yuan.

Some students were surprised that the convenient kiosk closed.

“It’s a good centralized area to get food in between classes,” said Alex Go, FCRH ’22.

Tereze Nika, FCRH ’21, said she noticed it was closed and was surprised. She said she comes to Keating basement often and was used to having it there.

Diana Reynoso, FCRH ’22, said she only noticed it was closed about a week ago, but was also surprised. She said she did not understand what the problem was.